What to do about Axel Tuanzebe


Image from Manchester United

Welcome to The United Devils once more. Our today's highlight is going to be none other than our Academy Star - Axel Tuanzebe. We are going to discuss about how he fits in the current United team, and what's his future in the United squad. Before we get started, let's have a quick look at his profile -

Player Profile -
Image from Premier League

  • Full name: Axel Tuanzebe
  • Country: England
  • Age: 22
  • Shirt: #38
  • Height: 6'1" (185 cms.)
  • Weight: 72 kg.
  • Playing Position: Centre Back
  • Part of United Academy since: 2005
  • Tenure: United Senior team since 2015
    • Loaned to Aston Villa in January 2018
    • Loaned again to Aston Villa for 2018-19 season.
    • Returned to United in 2019.

Although Axel Tuanzebe prefers to play at centre back, the lad has proved from time to time that he is capable of holding the right flank (right back), and being the pivot of the team equally well (CDM). Versatility adds to the favor in his argument as fans have demanded his inclusion in the team from time to time. Winner of the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year in 2014-15, Tuanzebe has made 11 appearances this season, of which five are in Premier League, three in Europa League, two in EFL Cup, and one sole appearance in Premier League 2.

Out of the 11 matches Axel Tuanzebe took part in, he started in 5 of them and came on as a substitute for the rest of the games. His playing style is often compared to his teammate Eric Bailly, and he was even praised by former United Manager Jose Mourinho, who said that - "10 minutes is enough (subbed in Tuanzebe at 80' against Wigan)! The potential is there, you see it immediately."
With all things said, what does future hold for Tunazebe at United? Well, the answer depends on a lot of factors, and here is my go at it -

Will Axel excel at Manchester United?

Let's break this down step by step:

United have just strengthened the defence with Harry Maguire this season, and being the leader of the team, he can be looked upon as an inspirational figure by Tuanzebe, who himself dreams of leading United someday. Tuanzebe can indeed learn a lot from the current skipper, but should not expect to be anywhere near starting lineup, and here is why - 

We have already got a power-packed defence in the form of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, both being better at the game than Tuanzebe, so no chances here. Talking about the secondary right back position, it is equally hard to conquer with strong Aaron Wan Bissaka and Diogo Dalot being the top contenders. Coming to the pivotal anchor position, United already have Matic, Fred, and McTominay competing in top-form for it, leaving no further scope with this either. 

So, on his best day, Tuanzebe can make it to the bench of the current United team, where he can be used as a substitute for either of the centre backs if Eric Bailly is injured or out of form. 

In conclusion, will Axel excel at Manchester United? Unfortunately, I don't see that happening this season at least, as I have already mentioned the strength of starting lineup in his favored positions. Another reason that further weakens the argument is his injury record. He has been injured for a good part of the season due to his rash tackling habits (just like Bailly), and until he does something about that, it's going to be a roller-coaster ride to make it to the top squad.

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